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Recap / The Simpsons S 16 E 21 The Father The Son And The Holy Guest Star

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When Bart is expelled for an incident at a medieval-themed fair at school (even though this accident was caused by Groundskeeper Willie, who was mad he wasn't chosen to be a cooper), he's sent to a Catholic private school led by an Irish priest (voiced by guest star Liam Neeson) who shows Bart and Homer the fun side of the Catholic religion. Naturally, Ned, Marge, and Reverend Lovejoy (who are Protestant) don't agree.



  • Adults Are Useless: Just because the school hates Bart doesn’t mean… no, let’s face it, they hate HIM to the point it was easy just to expel and let Willie get away. The only few exception would have to be Father Sean.
  • Broken Aesop: One would think Bart and Homer had converted to Satanism or Scientology based on the way Marge, Lovejoy, Ned, and the rest of the town treat them. The only negative aspects of Catholicism that are actually mentioned in the episode are the lack of meat on Fridays (which most Catholics only observe during Lent) and a subtle joke about Catholic priests doing inappropriate things with children. This, combined with the fact that characters of other religions, such as Krusty or Apu, rarely if ever get chastised for their beliefs, means that the message about Christians learning to be accepting of those of different religious branches is highly lessened, as the Catholics in this episode had no real reason to be hated in the first place.
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  • Cassandra Truth: Practically nobody believes in Bart's pleas of innocence regarding the prank he was expelled for.
  • Crisis of Faith: The premise of the episode, similar to "Homer the Heretic" (season four episode where Homer creates his own religious beliefs and stays home from church) and "She of Little Faith" (season 13 episode where Lisa converts to Buddhism after the local church allows advertising).
  • Celestial Bureaucracy: A follow inhabitant of Protestant Heaven explains this to Marge.
  • Distant Finale: After Bart convinces the Catholics and Protestants to get along, the episode ends on a fade to 1000 years later, where two armies are fighting over the words of "God's last prophet, Bart Simpson."
  • Double Standard: Bart and Homer's conversion to Catholicism is met with hatred and disgust (especially from Marge), the town ostracizing Marge for their change of faith, and Marge, Lovejoy, and Ned kidnapping Bart in an attempt to get him to change back, while the worst Lisa got upon converting to Buddhism was Ned hiding his sons in a bunker and Marge and Lovejoy trying to use Christmas to win her back.
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  • Dramatic Gun Cock: Parodied in the climactic Mexican Standoff when all four get a closeup of pumping their guns.
  • Dramatic Irony: Audience members can't help but feel sorry for Bart when he's getting flak from everyone for something they [the audience] know Willie was responsible for.
  • Eskimos Aren't Real: When Lisa mentions how she decided to convert to Buddhism, Father Sean thinks she's talking about an imaginary friend
  • Fluffy Cloud Heaven: Marge's Imagine Spot.
  • Jerkass Realization: Bart once again, he calms everyone down when he explains that Catholics and Protestants are both Christians, which got both sides to agree.
  • Karma Houdini: Groundskeeper Willie didn't get punished for the stunt he pulled and let Bart take the blame.
  • Mundane Afterlife: Protestant Heaven has cricket and badminton, while Catholic Heaven has a Mexican fiesta, Italian dinner, and Irish dancing.
  • Not Helping Your Case: Despite Bart's innocence, smugly insulting Skinner wasn't very smart on Bart's part, to say the least.
  • Not Me This Time: Bart tries to explain he’s innocent and didn’t do anything wrong despite having a reason to sabotage the fair, which it’s true but seriously it's already explained.
  • The Scapegoat: Bart was forced to take the blame, despite the fact he had nothing to with the mayhem Willie did.
  • Standing in the Hall: Bart is forced into this while at a private Catholic school.
  • Too Soon, Schedule Slip, and Banned Episode: This episode wasn't supposed to be the season finale for season 16, but Pope John Paul II died around the time of its original airdate and FOX (not wanting to piss off any Catholic viewers), rescheduled the episode to air as a finale while the originally-intended finale ("The Girl Who Slept Too Little") was pushed to season 17.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: It's never shown how Bart gets back into Springfield Elementary or if he is ever proven innocent of Willie's prank.


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